If you haven’t heard by now, Google is in the job search business. Whenever Google gets involved in anything, people pay attention and word travels fast. In the last few months, not a day goes by where I am not asked by a client or prospect about getting on Google Jobs. In the process, I’ve discovered there’s quite a bit of confusion about what Google is doing and what it means to your company.
Google first announced a Cloud Jobs API last November. This May, there was another announcement about Jobs in Google Search, where Google would index jobs to be shown in search results within the United States.
These are two very distinct initiatives that offer different opportunities and implications. Here is a quick rundown of the differences between the two.
Google Cloud Jobs API The Jobs API is an opportunity to use Google search on a company career site or job board, and it is primarily for software vendors to use in place of their own search functionality. The private alpha program was launched with a few vendors, and Google will be expanding the partner base in the Beta program.
It is very possible that this service will come with a cost, and it will either be absorbed by the software vendor or passed on to the customer. I will not go into detail on the potential benefits of incorporating the API into your career pages. You can read more about it here. If you’re interested in having Google job search embedded in your career site, you should ask your software vendor if they will be participating in the Beta program.
Jobs in Google Search The job search feature is something everyone should take advantage of and it will have significant implications. Since its launch in May of this year, when you include the word “jobs” or “careers” along with a company name or a U.S.-based location in a Google search you will see a jobs widget that takes you to a list of relevant jobs.
Google initially started pulling in these jobs from sources like CareerBuilder, LinkedIn, Facebook, Monster, and Glassdoor (to name a few), but they are also indexing jobs directly from company career sites.
How do you get your career site jobs to show up in the widget? It’s all about structuring the data. Google is constantly crawling the web to index new or revised webpages. During this process, they look for specific information to best categorize the content for search results. The best way to help Google understand that your career site page is full of jobs is by adding structured data.
For example, a jobs page should contain job title, location, industry, category, job description and other related data. Google has provided specific documentation on how you can structure your data for jobs and integrate directly with Google search.
Implications It is not hard to see that this will have long-lasting implications. From my perspective, this is the beginning of another shift in the job board industry. Here are a few considerations to keep in mind.
The Google Jobs widget will undoubtedly become a big source of traffic to job pages. At first, the traffic will be distributed to multiple destinations due to many job sites being indexed. And, in the early stages, it seems the job boards integrating with Google will be the big winners.
It does not appear that Indeed is integrating with Google. At this point the impact to Indeed will only be in U.S.-based searches. But with the Google jobs widget appearing above Indeed's organic search results, I would bet there has been a considerable shift in their traffic. I think all bets are off when Google expands globally.
While the job boards integrating with Google are likely seeing a boost in traffic, once corporate career sites are indexed on a broader basis, this could all change. It is likely Google will give greater weight to jobs sourced directly from the corporate pages, and my guess is that candidates will prefer it too.
Whatever the future holds, one thing is for certain: the concept of SEO for jobs has just been flipped on it’s head.